Bandar Seri Begawan – Tonight’s full moon was a Supermoon which is astronomically known as the perigee-syzygy. It occurs when the full moon is directly opposite the sun and at the closest juncture (perigee) to earth in its orbit.
Tonight’s full moon was the final Supermoon in 2020, and the next occurrence is on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 11:31 am. (Find out when is the next Supermoon from 2020 until 2030 here)
Here are some of tonight’s best supermoon snapshots from around Brunei Darussalam.
The lunar orbit around Earth is elliptical. On average, the distance from Earth to the moon is about 384,400 km. At closest approach (perigee), the moon comes as close as 363,104 km. The farthest away (apogee) it gets is 405,696 km from Earth.
A “supermoon” takes place when a full moon or new moon comes within 90 percent of its closest distance with Earth.
In 2020, three full moon supermoons will occur on March 10 (351198.3 km), April 8 (350564.2 km) and May 7 (353753.9 km). At these instances, the moon will look brighter than ordinary full moons; and about 7% larger than the average-size full moon.
Additionally, three new moon supermoons in 2020 are on September 17 (368459.5 km), October 17 (363392.8 km) and November 15 (364146.4 km).
A supermoon is a full moon or a new moon that nearly coincides with perigee (the closest that the Moon comes to the Earth in its elliptic orbit) resulting in a slightly larger-than-usual apparent size of the lunar disk as viewed from Earth. The astronomy term is a perigee syzygy (of the Earth–Moon–Sun system) or a full (or new) Moon around perigee.
Criteria of Supermoon
There are no official definition for a supermoon, as the term was mainly a related interest to astrology. Few criteria as follow:
Richard Nolle (2011) defines Supermoon as any lunation closer than 368,630 km.
Fred Espenak (2012) defines the Moon’s mean apogee and perigee distances results in a mean limiting distance of 367,607 km for a super moon.
Fergus Wood (1976) used the definition of a full or new moon occurring within 24 hours of perigee and also used the label perigee-syzygy.
Sky and Telescope magazine chose a definition of 223,000 miles (358,884 km)
TimeandDate.com prefers a definition of 360,000 km (223,694 mi).
You can find the full list of Supermoon / Perigee syzygy / Full Moon around perigee for year 2020 until 2030 below compiled and computed by Hazarry Hj Ali Ahmad, the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam, based on the above definitions. A logical check is also generated for the top 3 closest moon distance in that year. A personal opinion is to categories the Supermoon when at least 3 of the criterial searches were met.
Supermoon, Full Moon, Equinox? Check out this space infographic below for explanation. Catch the ‘Super Equinox Full Moon’ visible the whole night from Brunei Darussalam on 20th (Wednesday) and 21st (Thursday) March 2019.
Supermoon occurs on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at 2:37 am at its closest distance (Perigee) of 359 345 km to Earth. The moon will be slightly bigger than a normal moon, but only by a few percents.
Spring Equinox occurs on Thursday, March 21, 2019 at 5:59 am. The sun rises exactly due East and sets due West. Day and night have the same length.
Full Moon occurs on Thursday, March 21, 2019 at 9:43 am. On this day, Earth is between the moon and the sun, and the moon is visible during the whole night.
Bandar Seri Begawan – An unusual full moon light “hypnotised” many skywatchers to a rare celestial display around the world including Brunei Darussalam on Tuesday night, 19 Feb 2019.
The super moon was the biggest and brightest in 2019 because its orbit is at its closest to earth or at perigee at around 356,800km.
At such shortest distance, the Earth’s only natural satellite appeared nearly 30% brighter and almost 14% bigger than a typical full moon. Some effects of the moon’s gravitational pull at our oceans was more pronounced than other times of the month, generating higher than normal high tides or Spring Tides.
Below, some of the best shots of it from around the Sultanate.
Due to the recent outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19), the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam (PABD) has postponed most of our public engagement activities such as stargazing, new moon observation etc. until further notice and focus on implementing Astronomy at Home or in a small group activity. This is in view of prevention and to control the spread of the infection in Brunei Darussalam.